Single Foster Dad Adopts 5 Siblings So They’ll Never Be Separated

A 29-year-old Ohio man is now a proud father of five after adopting a group of siblings to keep them from being separated by the care system. Robert Carter from Cincinnati knows first-hand how difficult growing up in the system can be since he experienced it himself. As a single gay man, he always knew he wanted to be a dad and would need to adopt, and officially adopting this beautiful group of kids seemed like a win-win situation.

  1. Robert is one of nine kids himself. He went into the foster care system at the age of 12 and was suddenly without his siblings, which left him scared, confused, and feeling abandoned. “I didn’t eat for a week,” he told TODAY Parents. “I didn’t know where my family was. I didn’t know if I would ever see them again. It was traumatizing.” He never wanted other kids to go through the same thing.
  2. He became a foster dad to three boys in December 2019. Robert loved looking after Robert, 9, Giovanni, 5, and Kiontae, 4, but he also knew the boys had older siblings and he was determined to reunite them. He eventually took on Marionna, 10, and Makayla, 7, after six months apart and he’s never looked back. “Everybody was just crying and hugging and not wanting to let go,” Carter recalled of the kids’ reunion. “In that moment, I knew I had to adopt all five.”
  3. Robert developed a special connection with Marionna. As the oldest, she took on the caretaker role in the family, something Robert himself experienced as a child. “When I was 10 I was left in charge to take care of everyone. I’d steal food because that was the only way we’d eat,” he said. “Marionna, she was the mother figure. She was responsible for everything. I understand what that’s like.” After moving in with Robert, however, she’s finally getting to experience what it’s like to be a kid. “I won’t even let her make her brothers and sister a bowl of cereal. That’s not her job. Her job is to play,” he said.
  4. The kids are finally settling into their forever home. Robert admitted that he used to wake up to discover that the siblings had all climbed into one bed, obviously afraid of being separated again. However, he’s finally noticed an important change. “I used to get up and find them all together. But they’re no longer afraid of being ripped apart,” he said.
  5. The day he officially adopted the kids was one of his happiest. The ceremony took place on October 30 and it was an emotional affair for Robert. “I was so nervous it would fall through at the last minute,” he admitted. “But I get to be there for them for the rest of their life. They never have to worry about being neglected or alone ever again. We’re a family forever.” What a wonderful story!
Jennifer Still is a writer and editor with more than 10 years of experience. The managing editor of Bolde, she has bylines in Vanity Fair, Business Insider, The New York Times, Glamour, Bon Appetit, and many more. You can follow her on Twitter @jenniferlstill